Can horses be intentionally mean? - Page 10

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Can horses be intentionally mean?

This is a discussion on Can horses be intentionally mean? within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category

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    07-03-2011, 12:50 AM
Green Broke
Just as a side note, I didn't breed the mare and I quickly got her to the point of having her back legs handled easily. Same as my mare - they just don't like it which is a big fat too bad in my books. Zierra just always jerks her back leg up very quickly, and then will try to suck it into her tummy. It was just very very peculiar to me that a mare could be born with such a quirk and still have it after 12 years of having her legs handled daily.

Excellent point though PaintedFury, sometimes it's not just temperament alone we should be considering when breeding, but other "quirks" - Zierra has a completely docile temperament on the ground, a kid could handle her, but then start handling her back legs or ears and she can get squirrelly. Most people wouldn't think twice about breeding her temperament on, but will those quirks get compounded into actual issues down the line if we continue breeding the offspring? Very intriguing!
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    07-03-2011, 12:54 AM
Green Broke
I don't understand why a horse can go out of its way to kick me and it was my fault... Honestly. I want to understand what you're saying. :)
    07-03-2011, 12:59 AM
Well, because it's just a horse and it's doing what comes naturally? Can horses be intentionally mean? Just went around in a circle there, didn't we?
    07-03-2011, 02:09 AM
Green Broke
Haha I think we've now begun a new argument, "can it be the horse's fault?"

Even if horses CAN be intentionally mean, I don't personally think anything is their fault. Maybe it's not necessarily YOUR fault, but placing blame is another VERY human emotion that animals simply don't subscribe to. It's doesn't have to be someone's fault, it CAN just "be". If I feed Jynx a treat and she accidentally gets skin, it's nobody's "fault" I got pinched, it just happened - I could pay better attention and she could be more careful, but placing blame is just a little silly when something like that happens.
    07-03-2011, 02:20 AM
Just a quick side note, MM I LOVE your picture in your profile. I smile and giggle to myself every time that I see it!
    07-03-2011, 02:23 AM
Hey administrators, I think this thread needs to get stuck in the horse training section. This is something else that new people could benefit from, I think.
    07-03-2011, 04:00 AM
Green Broke
I guess "is it the horse's fault?" was a question very poorly worded. I'm having a hard time putting down in words what I'm trying to say...

I'm wondering if your post was trying to say, "Horses have every right to be 'mean' to humans, because humans are mean to horses. Horses are doing what is natural to them, so however dangerous/disrespectful the behavior, it is okay, because it is the human's fault for making the horse uncomfortable and not reading their body language."

IF this is what you said (I have a feeling I'm missing a little, so correct freely), what kind of responsibity should be placed on the horse to be "well trained" enough not to strike at people? Should horses be able to strike whenever they feel a need?

Doe, if you could just kindly re-explain your post in "idiot language". :)
    07-03-2011, 07:46 AM

You are not the only one. Some of the things that I am trying to raise and discuss in threads that I start are such subtle differences that they will be overlooked or misunderstood. I too struggle to put them into words. That is not saying I know better than anyone else, I am just constantly trying to improve and discussion helps me.

Firstly I am sorry you were kicked I would not wish that on you. I think the point was that the horse is a horse. You know that. You know its capable of kicking. The horse is tied and eating so it cannot move. You were in a place where you could get kicked and you did. Outside of the horse choosing not to kick (and of course I can only guess at the reason) you were the only one who could change the outcome. Therefore it is your responsiblity in that sense. I hope that doesn't sound harsh because it is not meant to be.

I was not saying horses are okay to kick, or that you were mean. However I advise everyone to look at their own responsiblity in these things. NOT for blame but to keep themselves safer in future.

I have only been kicked the once. It was 3 years ago. That was a 17.1 Irish Draft. Shoed - nice foot print perfectly bruised around my left pectoral. I was lucky. The horse was moving away and I was able to take the energy by flying backwards lol. People came out of their stables because they heard the crack. The point was that was my responsiblity.

I was working with a young, supposedly dominant horse. I was using Parelli type techniques and trying to 'move her feet'. I got it wrong. She warned me but I ignored it. In fact she warned me twice. Third time I got it! I totally misread that horse. Dominance it such a crude way was not the way to go. Was she being mean? No. I had not established the right to boss her around, and she told me so. I didn't truly respect her as much as I thought I was, and so she did not respect me.

I picked myself up (literally) as my first concern once I realised I could breath was her running around with a loose line in the arena. I took the line off and that was the day I began working as I now do, which was somthing I had inside me but had lacked the confidence to follow. Im not saying you should never work a horse on a line. I regularly do. Its just that we had to break the association and start again. The difference was immediate. That horse bucked off much better riders than me and still does. She has kicked other better riders than me. She hasn't tried to kick me since nor has she ever tried to 'get me off'.

Another much simpler example. We have a horse on the yard that would bite from his stable. He lunges at people as they go past and has torn sleeves etc. Understandably people didnt like him. Some were careful to avoid him. Others hit him.

All I did was walk into his attack zone and meet his intention as it came in. What was that in actual physical terms? A simple but strong and sudden step towards him with a raised finger. Timing is everything. It was at the point of launch and he reversed immediately and stopped dead. So did I. Then I went into his stable (asking first) and stroked him.

After that all it took was for anyone passing to raise a finger and say 'hey' firmly but not angrily. Problem gone within the day. However the two people that hit him a few times? He still lunges for them to this day. I don't think that's mean, but it does show they remember, and it also shows they can differentiate different people with different treatment, not just group everyone as human.
    07-03-2011, 01:05 PM
Green Broke

Excellent post.

BrightEyes, I think you just need to let go of the human tendency to "blame". As I said, it's not your fault you got kicked, but it's not the horses fault either. In most cases, blame just isn't something that can be applied to horses, however you are correct and it all boils down to "can they be intentionally mean?" all over again, because if we surmise that a horse CAN plot to injure you, then yes, they can be "blamed" in a human sense of being at fault.

When I bought Jynx, she tried to kick me three times. I avoided getting kicked by being quick on my feet and aware of her intentions. She was a spoiled 2 year old who had been taught that if she kicked a human, the pressure or uncomfortable thing would stop. In this sense, I cannot blame her. She is only reacting to what she's been taught. Does that stop me from teaching her it's wrong? Of course not, there still must be a form of "punishment" to show her she's done the incorrect thing. But I don't blame her for trying to kick me, or call her a mean or bad horse. I know exactly WHY she's trying to kick me, she's been trained as surely as a jumper is trained to jump.

Horses are like children - they will do wrong, but most of the time they don't realize what they're doing is "wrong" and it's up to us to guide them.
    07-03-2011, 08:26 PM
Green Broke
Thank you very much! I believe I understand now. I can be a little dense at times, but after understanding what you mean, I can see it how you do.

Blame and fault are difficult terms to use with horses. I suppose it doesn't matter too much who is to blame, but what can be learned from whatever went wrong.

(Also, your working without a line techique sounds interesting... I would like to hear more about that some day.)

Whether horses can intend to hurt someone with a degree of malice... I'm still undecided. Such a complicated issue. Most "meanness" can be blamed on humans "training" them to act that way, like Macabre's mare. Horses know no wrong until they are taught what wrong is.

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